Hike to the Summit of Cannon Mountain via Kinsman Ridge trail

Cannon Mountain Trail Head, Franconia, New Hampshire, United States

  • Activities:

    Photography, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    4 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet

Easy Parking
Forest
Scenic

Roughly 20 minutes from Lincoln is a great hike with easy-to-find parking and breath taking 360 degree views.

Driving north on I-93 in New Hampshire, Cannon Mountain can be seen on the left just a few miles after exit 32. It is a massive cliff that towers over the highway, thousands-of-feet tall. Parking for the trail head is left off of exit 34B. If you look left as you're driving into the paved parking lot, you'll see a small dirt road that has room for about 10 cars - park there. The beginning of the "Kinsman Ridge Trail" is right next to a big pile of rocks.

First off, pack light for this one - its a calf-burner. Right from the ground the trail shoots up making it pretty strenuous. 3000+ft of elevation gain in just two miles makes for a really steep trail, but the 360 degree views at the top are well worth it. The trail itself is mainly loose dirt and slick rocks but if you watch your footing you'll be fine. It is four miles round trip.

About halfway up you get a pretty good view of Echo Lake, that sits right at the base of the 4100 foot mountain. The next view after that is from a little side path that is about 100 feet long off to the left. You cant miss it. This will bring you right on top of that giant cliff I was telling you about earlier. Across the way you'll see one of my favorite views in the White Mountains - Mt Lafayette, Lincoln, and Little Haystack, and to the south stands Mt Moosilake.

Cannon's summit is roughly a 25 minute hike from that over look. The summit is a lookout deck that has coin operated binoculars so make sure you bring at least 50 cents! The summit is 4100 feet up and has 360 degree views.

Lastly there is a gondola that runs up the side and runs pretty much year round. Some people like to hike up and take the ride down, or vice-versa. All around it is a great hike with awesome views.

Pack List

  • Camera
  • Hiking Shoes with a lot of traction
  • Water
  • $1.00 in Quarters
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this trial is a lot of fun. its one of the shorter hikes in the white mountains with comparable views to some of the longer more strenuous ones. the climb itself has very few people on it which is nice - the peak is accessible by tram so there are lots of people there and there is a little cafe as well.

6 months ago
6 months ago

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